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Maharashtra Faces Load-Shedding Amid Surge in Post-Covid Power Demand. Mumbai Excused | Explained

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: April 13, 2022, 17:52 IST

New Delhi

According to MSEDCL, Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai will not be affected by load shedding. (File photo/AFP)

According to MSEDCL, Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai will not be affected by load shedding. (File photo/AFP)

Power demand in the country is expected to surge even more in the coming weeks as the weather officials have predicted maximum temperatures above normal in April in many northern and central regions

At a time when economic activity was starting to recover after months of Covid-related lockdowns, the Maharashtra government has decided to temporarily curtail the electricity supply in certain parts of the state to deal with the current power crisis. Power demand in the country is expected to surge even more in the coming weeks as the weather officials have predicted maximum temperatures above normal in April in many northern and central regions.

Industrial states such as Gujarat and Maharashtra have resorted to load shedding, officials told Reuters, with government data showing eastern states such as Jharkhand and Bihar, and Haryana and Uttarakhand in the north reporting power shortages of over 3 per cent each.

POWER DEMAND IN MAHARASHTRA

The “load shedding”, which entails power cuts in select areas, will be carried out both in urban and rural areas, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company said in a statement on April 11. It added that the growing demand for power and shortages of coal has resulted in a deficit of 2,500-3,000 MW in power. To bridge the same, MSEDCL will be resorting to load shedding as per the guidelines set by Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The state was notorious for load shedding till a few years ago. A large part of the country’s financial capital does not fall under MSEDCL’s service area, and those pockets were excluded from load shedding in the past instances.

The MSEDCL statement said there is a record demand for over 28,000 mw of power, which is about 4,000 mw higher than last year’s. MSEDCL’s demand alone has touched up to 24,800 mw and the night demand is also up to 23,000 mw.

The MSEDCL has contracted 37,900 mw of power, of which 33,700 mw is installed capacity and 62 per cent of this comes from the coal-fired thermal power plants, the statement said. However, due to a country-wide shortage of coal, there is a shortage in generation from the contracted thermal power plants, it said, pegging the shortfall from coal plants alone at 6,000 mw.

Efforts to get power from alternative sources are on at a war footing, which includes availing 673 mw from NTPC till June 25, 760 mw from CGPL, of which 410 mw is from Tuesday midnight. “We appeal to consumers to cooperate in these difficult times, and use power sparingly,” the statement appealed.

These Cities Not to Be Affected by Load Shedding

According to MSEDCL, Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai will not be affected by load shedding as these areas have less power distribution losses and good recovery of bill payment as compared to others.

Quoting an official, Times of India reported on Monday, “We will carry out load shedding in those pockets where there are more power thefts, power distribution losses and recovery of bill payments is poor. These include the G1, G2 and G3 category of consumers who are mostly near Kalyan areas in the Mumbai metropolitan region.”

STEPS BEING TAKEN TO DEAL WITH IT

Electricity consumption in Maharashtra has surged by 10 per cent and has reached a peak of 28,000 MW, but the state was maintaining a regular supply and planned to buy 760 MW from Gujarat at higher rates, state minister Prajakt Tanpure said on Monday, adding that the state was buying power at an average price of Rs 8 per unit and would continue to do so to give relief to people amid a scorching summer.

News agency PTI quoted coal secretary Anil Kumar Jain as saying that “coal block allocates have a golden opportunity for increasing coal production as the price of imported coal is very high and demand of thermal coal will increase due to increase in electricity demand in the country.”

POLITICAL ATTACK ON MAHA GOVT

Union Minister Raosaheb Danve has said that the lack of planning by the Maharashtra government has led to the shortage of coal and the resultant power shortage in the state. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, MoS for Railway, Coal and Mines accused the state government of not storing enough coal, which has caused a power shortage.

“The MVA is raising a hue and cry about the shortage of coal. If the state government had prepared a plan in advance, it would not have faced power shortage,” he said, adding the Centre has enough coal and it has never refused to give the same to the state.

“The country produces 80 per cent of coal and 20 per cent is imported by power companies. Though Maharashtra owes Rs 3,000 crore to the Centre for the purchase of coal, we have never refused to provide the resource,” he claimed.

The state government should have made provisions for the storage of coal. It is not the Centre’s responsibility to provide power, the onus is on the state government to supply electricity to farmers and industrialists, he said. The state government should purchase power from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, Danve added.

(with inputs from agencies)

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first published:April 13, 2022, 16:58 IST
last updated:April 13, 2022, 17:52 IST